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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sea Things #11: Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.


The Caribbean Spiny Lobster, or Panulirus argus is found all over the place. We've seen them at every dive location where we have ever dove. They look like what you'd expect, lobster-like, with big long antennae that have spines on them that will hurt if they hit you. They will try to hit you, and sometimes have attacked Todd's camera when he is taking photos of them. They don't have the big claws like you'd see on a Maine Lobster, but use the antennae as a major form of defense. They eat snails and mollusks and such. Apparently, they migrate in big lines across the ocean floor, which I haven't seen except in Finding Nemo.

Lobsters are typically up in holes and under ledges. They're usually sitting in there, looking out at the world, trying to appear threatening when they see divers. The sign for them is to put your hands on your forehead and make the lobster antennae with your fingers. Divers will often go catching lobsters, and will refer to them as "bugs" when on a lobster hunt.

I've been on a kick, talking about conservation and overfishing a lot. Lobsters, though, are generally not overfished, and the traps don't usually harm other sea life.. In fact, when I see a lobster underwater, I start daydreaming about tongs and butter. My mouth waters. I would consider being one of those divers that would go hunting for lobsters, except that I can't stand the thought of personally boiling an animal alive (though I'd have no issue with getting someone else to do it for me, I admit). Eat lobsters all you want, they are scrumptious.



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Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

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